Between the heyday of the 1950s, Las Vegas’ inexplicable “family vacation” phase and today’s “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” Sin City motif, one thing has stayed the same. If you want a great cocktail, you can find them in Las Vegas.
I’ve always said that Vegas is known for great cocktails because it’s in the middle of a giant, superhot desert, but that’s probably only about one percent true. The city of Las Vegas is known for amazing cocktails because it’s a city where cutting loose is mandatory and the whole relaxing and having fun process is definitely lubricated with the help of a little alcohol.
Plus, the more you drink, the more likely you are to spend a lot of money at the tables, the shows, or the shops.
But let’s not dwell on that too much and keep the whole fun thing in mind. With that said, there are a whole lot of places you can have a good time and a good drink in Las Vegas. To get your exploration started, I picked out ten of my favorites for you to try and then start partying.
10- Frozen Drinks Atop the Stratosphere
I have a soft spot in my heart for the frozen drink. I think they’re fun and I really don’t mind that they’re overly sweet. In fact, I think that’s kind of a plus.
Anyway, there are a lot of places that one can obtain a frozen drink in Las Vegas, especially when accompanying Mexican food and in margarita form. However, not every place that one can buy a frozen drink has the long cups or great views of the Stratosphere.
Therefore, even if the casino is a little far away from the heart of the Strip, it’s worth the trip to go to the top and order a frozen drink. Enjoy the aerial view with your drink and you will not be sorry for a moment.
9- Do What You Want at the Cosmopolitan Bar
You will not find a “do what you want” at the hotel bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino (for reference, it’s the bar right by the check in desk.)
What you will find is set of bartenders who love their job and don’t mind a bit of a challenge. Therefore, I suggest that when you’re in Las Vegas next time, head over to the Cosmopolitan. There are plenty of great places to get a meal, but there’s also that bar.
Head over there before you eat and just tell them that you’re interested in something off menu. Tell them that your fate is in their hands and sit back and wait. I positively guarantee you that whatever you get will be one of the best cocktails you will have all visit.
If not the best cocktail.
8- Sour Beers at Atomic Liquors
Okay, it’s true, sour beers are not a cocktail. However, when it comes to places to drink, the Atomic Lounge has to be mentioned because of its history.
Atomic Liquors is the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas (though currently it’s connected to a liquor store, which is something that seems to be a distinctly Las Vegas ideal: go to a bar and buy your take home liquor in one place.)
While I am fairly sure the place won’t up my rad count, it’s still fun to go back to those days and live in them through cocktails.
With that said, Atomic Liquors is primarily known for their beers, which is fine. We want to highlight one of their special events: the sour beer festival which serves (wait for it…) sour beer. It’s not quite a cocktail, but it’s definitely a good reason to go drink.
7- Sucker Punch at Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is an impressive little bar that dates back to before Prohibition. It’s a dimly lit, but it still manages to serve more than one really great little cocktail.
There were actually several cocktails we could have chosen, but we went with the only sucker punch you want in a bar in Vegas. This drink features citrus vodka, orange juice, fresh lemon and pineapple. It’s a bright, fruity concoction that somehow seems to contrast pleasantly with the darker décor.
It’s a nice little drink that you will find refreshing and cooling especially if you can get your hands on one in the hot desert heat.
6- Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia at Velveteen Rabbit (Seasonal)
On one hand, it’s a little unfair to post a drink from the Velveteen Rabbit because they feature seasonal cocktails that you can’t get all the time. With that said, when winter comes around, you will be able to get your hands on the Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia among a number of other drinks.
I could have picked the Noho Hank’s Chill Vibes (with its cherry-clove vodka) or Apples-to-Apples / Dust to Dust with several different types of apple all rolled into one. Instead, I went with the Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia because it is such an unusual combination.
With that said, it is unique and sophisticated enough that it needed to be on this list.
5- Sazerac at Herbs and Rye
Why the Sazerac? Well, Las Vegas is Las Vegas and you have to do something a little bit different when you go that you might not do at home.
Something like drink absinthe and if that’s your goal, go to Herbs and Rye and order a Sazerac. It’s a pleasant mix of cognac, absinthe and bitters, which is great by itself. Plus, the fact that you’re consuming the green fairy, well, that just adds a little bit of excitement.
4- Oh My Gourd! At Downtown Cocktail Room
I love pumpkin. Not everyone loves pumpkin, but I love pumpkin.
Therefore, I had to add the Oh My Gourd! Because it mixes bitter chocolate liqueur, pumpkin puree, coconut milk and other spices and flavors into a drink that’s a lot like liquid pumpkin pie. It’s a perfect fall drink that could be described as an adult pumpkin spice latte.
Of course, that diminishes the drink which stands up very well on its own and, furthermore, is great any time you can drink it.
Though, if it’s not your speed, Herbs and Rye has a number of great drinks that you can try out.
3- After Glow at Skyfall Lounge
The After Glow breaks one of my personal rules (mixing stimulants and depressants), but it was good enough that I had to add it to the list.
The flavor will hit you straight in the mouth and the espresso is enough to keep you going throughout the night, but that’s really a secondary benefit to how good the drink is.
2- Kuuipo at The Golden Tiki
The Kuuipo is not a drink on its own. Rather, it’s a style of serving that you can get at the Golden Tiki.
What does that mean? Well, any of the cocktails at this Hawaiian-themed bar can be served Kuuipo style, which doubles the amount of drink and serves it in a hollowed-out pineapple with two straws.
I personally could do without the second straw, but other than that, I am a big, big fan of Kuuipo drinks of any variety.
1- Blue Hawaii at Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge
Along with frozen drinks, I also really like retro bars and there may be no finer retro bar in Las Vegas than Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge.
The Blue Hawaii fits that retro style drink perfectly. It’s a strong drink that has an electric blue color that seems pulled right from a tiki bar from years past. The good news is that it’s also fruity and delicious, garnished with large pieces of fruit and basically perfect for getting transported back to yesteryear.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of places at which one can purchase a drink or two or more. There are so many this list barely even scratches the surface.
Still, I believe this list does give you a drink for every taste whether you want something sophisticated and gourmet (like the Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia), something frozen at the Stratosphere or something retro like the Blue Hawaiian.
The only thing is missing is you. So get out to Vegas as soon as you can and start drinking.